Eleven years ago on this day, President Obama and I announced the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program to allow young people to live and work in the only country they’ve called home. Since then, DACA has provided more than 800,000 Dreamers the ability to work lawfully, pursue an education, and contribute their immense skills and talents to better our communities.
Dreamers are Americans. Many have spent the majority of their lives in the United States. They are our doctors, our teachers, and our small business owners. Dreamers strengthen our economy, enrich our workplaces, and during the COVID-19 pandemic, many served their communities on the frontlines.
The first version of the Dream Act was introduced to Congress by Senator Dick Durbin and former Republican Senator Orrin Hatch more than twenty years ago. Since then, the bill has been championed by bipartisan coalitions of lawmakers, business and educational leaders and organizations, and the overwhelming majority of the American public. But at each opportunity, Congress has failed to act.
My Administration is committed to providing Dreamers the opportunities and support they need to succeed. That’s why in April I announced a plan to expand health coverage for DACA recipients, and directed the Department of Homeland Security to “preserve and fortify” DACA.
While Vice President Harris and I will continue fighting to pass legislation to protect Dreamers and create a path to citizenship, only Congress can provide permanent and lasting stability for these young people and their families. Congress must act to protect our Dreamers.